From the time each of my children started school, I packed their lunches. And in each lunch I packed, I included a note. Often written on a napkin, the note might be a thank you for a special moment, a reminder of something we were happily anticipating, or a bit of encouragement for an upcoming test or sporting event.
In early grade school they loved their notes-they commented on them after school, and when I went back to teaching, they even put notes in my lunches. But as kids grow older they become self?conscious, and by the time he reached high school, my older son, Marc, informed me he no longer needed my daily missives. Informing him that they had been written as much for me as for him, and that he no longer needed to read them but I still needed to write them, I continued the tradition until the day he graduated.
Six years after high school graduation, Marc called and asked if he could move home for a couple of months. He had spent those years well, graduating Phi Beta Kappa magna cum laude from college, completing two congressional internships in Washington, D.C., winning the Jesse Marvin Unruh Fellowship to the California State Legislature, and finally, becoming a legislative assistant in Sacramento. Other than short vacation visits, however, he had lived away from home. With his younger sister leaving for college, I was especially thrilled to have Marc coming home.
A couple weeks after Marc arrived home to rest, regroup and write for a while, he was back at work-he had been recruited to do campaign work. Since I was still making lunch every day for his younger brother, I packed one for Marc, too. Imagine my surprise when I got a call from my 24?year?old son, complaining about his lunch.
"Did I do something wrong? Aren't I still your kid? Don't you love me any more, Mom?" were just a few of the queries he threw at me as I laughingly asked him what was wrong.
"My note, Mom," he answered. "Where's my note?"
This year my youngest son will be a senior in high school. He, too, has now announced that he is too old for notes. But like his older brother and sister before him, he will receive those notes till the day he graduates-and in whatever lunches I pack for him afterwards.